When Masculinity Hurts Men

It is great to be a boy in India. Everyone supports your endeavours, favours your wishes, and the law of the land gives you much freedom. The young aspire to be you, and elders adore you. Parents prefer a baby boy over a baby girl because the boy will bring a home dowry; he will earn and support them till their last breath. Boys are strong; they can handle every situation and all problems. It is great to be a boy in India. Or is it not?

Masculinity in India is an overrated subject. There are defined rules for men on how they should work, behave or even feel.

A male is considered weak or ‘girly’ if he is open to emotions. They are not supposed to cry. They are to have an aggressive approach to life. A man has to have a strong build, proper facial hair (more the better) and dress up in manly colours. Probably anyone physically weaker or younger gets overpowered—even other men. According to the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, 44% of male students (compared to 27% female students) were involved in physical fights.

He is required to be the head in any relationship and ensure that females listen to him. In India, around 70% of women are victims of domestic violence. National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutes. This all occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

They have to be the providers of comfort and security. One reason that farmers’ suicide on a large scale is that they fail in this characteristic. They choose death over their hurt male ego.

An earning man can be married to a non-earning woman, but it is deemed unnatural to have I the other way around. Moreover, it is socially unacceptable for men to homemakers. Dr Gitanjali Kumar, psychologist and marital therapist, explains, “Insecurity arises when the husband finds himself asking for monthly expenses from his working wife. Unless there is tolerance and minimum ego-clashing between partners, a ‘role-reversal can be difficult to pull off.”

However, such notions have simply concluded that men are “by nature” violent. All men are presumed to be perverts or, more so, even rapists. All face the consequences due to few rotten elements of their clan. Such mentality has given rise to more power to crimes against women by men. All women who claim to be abused (rapes cases alike) are considered truthful, and little, or no interrogation is held against them.

Men can be victims, too. Women are not the only victims of domestic violence and abuse. Men also suffer from domestic abuse – especially verbal and emotional – and maybe even more ashamed to seek help. In a conflicting survey taken by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, it was found that 40% of the victims of severe, physical domestic violence are men. The Dowry Act or IPC 498A safeguards women against domestic violence and criminal acts for dowry. Most of which are falsely registered to extract alimony from the alleged husbands and his family.

The men are laughed at when they help in household chores or hold the baby they have helped produce. The judiciary has taken into account the differences caused by this, but very little change will bloom until the core mentality begins to differ.

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